Many residential and commercial properties are owned in sections or areas by multiple owners, each owner owning one or more sections with the dwelling complex or building structure. In such arrangements there is usually a body corporate that is comprised of a number of owners. The role of the body corporate is to provide for governance of the scheme and taking care of various environmental and financial issues surrounding the operation.
In such environments it is common for the property to be supplied utilities on bulk-basis. Typically a single meter system is employed to calculate the overall consumption of all the sections and the common property area of the complex or building structure. Following this there may or may not be additional sub meters.
In the case where no sub-meters are installed, apportionment of the utility bill is typically calculated using the “participation quota”. This method attempts to determine fair apportionment by means of calculating ratios, either by number of persons or squared meter area. As expected, because of differences in peoples utilization habits, this method is rarely accurate and is fraught with problems and subject to frequent dispute and complaints from owners within the scheme.
In the case where sub-meters have been installed the situation is better as the meter for each section can be measured and therefore accurately billed. The sum of all the meter readings from the sections can then be subtracted from the bulk meter reading to determine the amount of electricity consumed in the common property areas. This can then, once again, be apportioned by means of the “participation quota” method to each sections utility bill.
While the situation where sub-meters are used is an improvement on the case where there are none, both situations are not perfect as payment for the utilities charged still needs to be collected once billed.
As is often the case is such scheme, there are people with varying financial means and circumstances. The result is that revenue collection management for the scheme is a task that requires constant attention, sending of reminders, calculation of late payment charges and debt collection. In the interim the body corporate or appointed management agent is still required to settle the utility billed it received on the bulk-meter account.
The amount of utility consumed in such situations is generally significant and therefore carries with significant liabilities. Without the aid of a prepaid metering solution, the financial situation of the body corporate may fluctuate significantly, resulting in contraction of the body corporate cashflow. Since utility bills must be settled in order to avoid discontinuation of supply, body corporate must often divert funds for service or maintenance in order to balance shortfalls.
Prolonged, this can lead to further problems such as general degradation of the complex or building with subsequent negative impact on health and safety and general up-keep or improvement.
Our prepaid meters and prepaid metering solution is the ideal solution for utilities revenues collection management in body corporate environments. Installed as sub-meter devices at the mains distribution board located within each dwelling area or section, our prepaid meters can be used to meter and govern the utility supply regardless of whether sub-meters are already installed or not.
Once installed our prepaid metering system ensures that all owners or their tenants are required to prepay for utilities before being supplied. The result is an immediate improvement in the cash flow of the body corporate. Furthermore, installation of our prepaid meters obviates the need for sufficient meter reading services and the cost associated with the service.
In addition to these benefits, the problem of paying for utility consumption on common property areas of the scheme is also resolved. This is because such schemes are typically metered by way of a bulk meter at which the cost the supply is discounted by the supplier of the utility. In order to cover the cost of utilities consumed in common property, each of the prepaid meters installed in the section of the scheme is set to charge for utility at the regular or standard rate for that utility in the area. This is price is not discounted, as a result the difference between the revenue collected from the sections is sufficient to cover the common property. The overall amount collected from the sections, charged at standard rate, is typically greater than the amount billed at the bulk-meter. In most cases this results in a slight profit for the body corporate which can be allocated toward upkeep and maintenance of items such as light bulbs, switch replacements, etc.
Prepaid meters and prepaid metering solutions usually solve many problems for body corporates including cash flow which is always highly important for all body corporates.